Si vis pacem, para bellum

There are times when you run into such a stellar example of something that it really cries out for a more prominent place in history and teaching.

One of the ongoing broken ideas that constantly circulates is the “Pacifist” ideal. Just refuse to fight and everything will be better. I was crippled by well meaning folks (my Mom, mostly, but also some religious sorts) telling me that “fighting is wrong”. And that “turn the other cheek” was the right way to handle things. That, mostly, got me beat up until most of my way through High School when I decided to ‘try the other way’. A “showdown” followed and, well, I didn’t even have to hit one person. Just making it clear that I was “prepared for war” and, in a way, looking forward to some well deserved “pay back” promptly ended things. NEVER to return.

So I’ve kept an eye open when looking at bits of history for other “Pacifist FAIL” stories. Like the Jews of Germany meekly marching to their deaths. Better to die with your fingers sunk into the neck of your tormentor than to go meekly. Like the British prior to W.W.II who were widely disarmed, and pleaded with the USA to send guns. ( Large numbers of private guns were sent over as a stop gap before “Lend Lease” got rolling.)

The consistent story of history is the same: Pacifists die. Sometimes they are enslaved first.

Don’t like that? Well guess what, bunky, reality doesn’t care what you like.

So I’m reading about New Zealand Volcanoes, one thing leads to another, and I’m reading about Chatham Island, and the history, and one thing leads to several more…

The shortest version is under the name of the Chief / Leader who started the Pacifist faction. I’ll put a longer version below it too. But this one is just so direct and clear…


Nunuku-whenua was a Moriori chief and famous sixteenth century pacifist.

The Moriori are a Polynesian people who settled in the then-uninhabited Chatham Islands around the year 1500. Following an inter-tribal conflict, Nunuku-whenua, a prominent Moriori chief of the Hamata tribe, established “Nunuku’s Law”, which forbade war, cannibalism and killing in any form.

The law was strictly abided by, and peace was maintained in the Chathams until the islands were invaded by about 900 Māori from two iwi, the Ngāti Mutunga and the Ngāti Tama, in 1835. The invaders had guns and massacred the Moriori, who gathered urgently for a council at Te Awapātiki. Although youths argued in favour of armed resistance, elders ruled that Nunuku’s Law could not be violated for any reason. The Moriori population, conquered and enslaved, fell from over 1600 in 1835 to less than 100 thirty years later.

Famous all righty. His followers were eaten or enslaved.

Kind of puts it all in a very ‘attainable’ package…

A smaller force, but willing to be violent, killed and ate most of a larger pacifist group, enslaving the remainder. And that is why Israel now says “Never Again”. They learned. And that is why I join Charlton Heston in saying “From my cold dead hands!”.

The longer version of the story comes from an article about this group of people, the Moriori. Sound a bit like Maori to you? It ought to. See, this is a sub-set of the Maori who moved away to establish their pacifist enclave ‘off by themselves’. Time passed, then their “cousins” from North Island “came for lunch”…

Moriori are the indigenous people of the Chatham Islands (Rēkohu in Moriori, Wharekauri in Māori), east of the New Zealand archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. These people lived by a code of non-violence and passive resistance (see Nunuku-whenua), which led to their near-extinction at the hands of Taranaki Māori invaders in the 1830s.

During the early 20th century it was commonly,but erroneously, believed that the Moriori were pre-Māori settlers of New Zealand, linguistically and genetically different from the Māori, and possibly Melanesian. This story, incorporated into Stephenson Percy Smith’s “Great Fleet” hypothesis, was widely believed during the early 20th century. However the hypothesis was not always accepted, see 1904 paper by A. Shand on The Early History of the Morioris.

By the late 20th century the hypothesis that the Moriori were different from the Māori had fallen out of favour amongst archeologists, who believed that the Moriori were Maori who settled on the Chatham Islands in the 16th century. The earlier hypothesis was discredited in the 1960s and 1970s.

The language they speak shows them to be Maori descendants. So what happened 300 years after they arrived on their island?

In 1835 some Ngāti Mutunga and Ngāti Tama people, Māori from the Taranaki region of the North Island of New Zealand invaded the Chathams. On 19 November 1835, the Rodney,hijacked a European ship, arrived carrying 500 Maori armed with guns, clubs and axes, followed by another ship with 400 more Maori on 5 December 1835. They proceeded to enslave some Moriori and kill and cannibalise others. “Parties of warriors armed with muskets, clubs and tomahawks, led by their chiefs, walked through Moriori tribal territories and settlements without warning, permission or greeting. If the districts were wanted by the invaders, they curtly informed the inhabitants that their land had been taken and the Moriori living there were now vassals.”

A council of Moriori elders was convened at the settlement called Te Awapatiki. Despite knowing of the Māori predilection for killing and eating the conquered, and despite the admonition by some of the elder chiefs that the principle of Nunuku was not appropriate now, two chiefs — Tapata and Torea — declared that “the law of Nunuku was not a strategy for survival, to be varied as conditions changed; it was a moral imperative.” A Moriori survivor recalled : “[The Maori] commenced to kill us like sheep…. [We] were terrified, fled to the bush, concealed ourselves in holes underground, and in any place to escape our enemies. It was of no avail; we were discovered and killed – men, women and children indiscriminately.” A Maori conqueror explained, “We took possession… in accordance with our customs and we caught all the people. Not one escaped…..” The invaders ritually killed some 10% of the population,a ritual that included staking out women and children on the beach and leaving them to die in great pain over several days. The Maori invaders forbade the speaking of the Moriori language. They forced Moriori to desecrate their sacred sites by urinating and defecating on them. Moiriori wished they had been colonized by the English and had the protection of the Treaty of Waitangi.

After the invasion, Moriori were forbidden to marry Moriori, or to have children with each other. All became slaves of the Ngati Tama and Ngati Mutunga invaders. Many Moriori women had children by their Maori masters. A small number of Moriori women eventually married either Maori or European men. Some were taken from the Chathams and never returned. Only 101 Moriori out of a population of about 2,000 were left alive by 1862 (Kopel et al., 2003). Although the last Moriori of unmixed ancestry, Tommy Solomon, died in 1933 there are several thousand mixed ancestry Moriori alive today.

That story ought to be taught to every single person who advocates for a Pacifist approach. It is not a unique outcome. It is the fundamental dynamic of predator and prey. The way to prevent it is para bellum.

It really is that simple. If you would have peace, prepare for war. The criminal, the bully, the invading cannibal tribe, the Evil Bastard, those who oppress others by any means and abuse the weak understand one thing. Attack those who are not able to fight back. Never be that person. Never be in that class. Never pursue that strategy of pacifist ideals. It is a dead end. Literally.

I think the basic (root cause) problem is that folks become enamored of what they would like. They want to ‘make a better world’. They forget (or never knew?) that what you like and what you want are not relevant to reality. Polar bears are not nice warm cuddly fur balls, no matter what you want and all it takes is one SOB in the world to kill you (and yours). There’s way more than one SOB in the world. Do I like the militarist / violent / fighting mindset or culture? No, not at all. I am, at the center of my being, fundamentally of the pacifist Buddhist ‘never harm any sentient living being’ sort. But “I learn”. And what I learned is that what I want is of no importance to the world. “Reality just is. -E.M.Smith”. So now I’m a nice fuzzy bunny pacifist who knows how to use a short sword, Uzi, shotgun, and kill with my bare hands. “Don’t mess with the Big Bunny. He bites back.” Every so often somebody doesn’t ‘get the memo’ and has to learn that all over again. Sometimes whole cultures. Sometimes they just all die and are replaced with other people who “get it”.

So avoid the dead end ideas. Learn from history so you don’t have to repeat it. And never ever expect “government” to be the guarantor of your safety. It just cleans up after the mess (at best) or is part of the cause (more often than desired). Not just as in W.W.II Germany and Japan, but throughout history in all ages.

On 19 November 1835, a British mercenary ship carrying 500 Māori armed with guns, clubs and axes arrived, followed by another ship on 5 December 1835 with a further 400 Māori. The Maori came from two tribes, the Tama and Mutunga. They proceeded to massacre the Moriori, who are thought to have numbered about 2,000, cannibalise the dead and enslave the survivors.

Got that? A British mercenary ship. Government sponsorship…

So keep those claws, teeth, spears, swords, arrows, and all nice and sharp and polish your guns and bows. Keep them visible, and a hand on the hilt of your belt knife. Smile politely and offer gifts and share your food; but never surrender your right to self defense and never expect a pacifist ideal to do anything but get you killed. Especially when a government is involved.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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31 Responses to Si vis pacem, para bellum

  1. Jeff Alberts says:

    On 19 November 1835, the Rodney,hijacked a European ship, arrived carrying 500 Maori armed with guns, clubs and axes, followed by another ship with 400 more Maori on 5 December 1835.

    Should that read “the Rodney, a hijacked European ship…” ? If so, that doesn’t mean the British sponsored the invasion, unless I’m misreading the word “hijacked”. Presumably the Maori did the hijacking, stealing the ship from the British?

  2. E.M.,

    I agree fully with you. Pacifism is just one of many aspects of utopianism, which is the overall world view of the “unconstrained” left. Have you ever read Dr. Thomas Sowell’s “A Conflict of Visions — Ideological Origins of Political Struggles”? He devotes an entire section to the utopian view of war/conflict. Other section deal with the utopian view of equality, freedom, liberty, and justice. (I recently utilized Dr. Sowell’s book to write an article about the 180-degree opposite definitions of these seemingly common/simple words by liberals/progressives vs. conservatives/libertarians.)

    In harmony with your theme of “If you wish for peace, prepare for war”, here’s a quote from a Denver columnist and radio talk show host, Mike Rosen: “Plowshares make lousy swords, and nations that beat their swords into plowshares will wind up pulling plows under the sword of nations that don’t.”

    For reference, here is Rosen’s full column that I quoted from:

    Keep up the fight for common sense.
    – Jeff

  3. Robin says:

    Thanks for posting this. It is indeed a piece of history that is important to remember – and is very close to home for me. I live in New Plymouth, Taranaki.
    Incidentally, when I saw the picture of Mt Fuji (which looks a lot like Mt Egmont – or Taranaki) that you posted a couple of days ago I nearly commented that we had just had a couple of earthquakes off the coast of Opunake. Seemed to follow shortly after some solar activity. Par for the course I suppose, being on the Pacific rim.
    Back on topic again, I have read ‘Merchants of Despair’ by Robert Zubrin. A history book describing the shared roots of Nazism and Environmentalism, ie: Malthusian thinking. I recommend it to you if you have not come across it yet.
    And lastly, I enjoy reading your blog – especially the climate change and environmental topics, keep up the good work.
    Wishing you a happy, healthy and productive new year.

  4. Reblogged this on Necessary and Proper Gov't and commented:
    This article is especially relevant tonight, as our dysfunctional Congress found a way to stave off the VERY ill-advised defense spending cuts for awhile…hopefully allowing the next Congress to remove these kind of stupid deadline-boobytraps from the country’s fiscal situation.
    – Jeff

  5. Gogs says:

    Speak softly, but carry a big stick . . . . .

  6. P.G. Sharrow says:

    I too was raised as a nonviolent. Life has taught me “The price of peace is to be always prepared for war.” Greedy Evil Bastards have no respect for the ways of peace. They only respect possible danger to themselves. pg

  7. Chuckles says:

    I always remember Professor Irwin Corey, the worlds greatest authority, when he said, ‘You can do more with a kind word, and a gun, than with just a kind word.’

    And let us not forget the Quaker admonition, ‘I would not hurt thee for the world, but thee standeth where I am about to shoot.’

  8. Another Ian says:


    Remember Kipling’s “Danegeld” too

  9. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jeff Alberts:

    That’s the way it’s written in the wiki. Yeah, more would be helpful, but given the number of other places where the British “helped” peaceful locals out of their land and lives, I don’t see much need to flog the specifics here… ( but I can if you want… we could start with “British Columbia” and the 13 Colonies in the USA… and season with a bit of South Africa, holding India in reserve for the main course…)

    It looks like generally things are a bit muddled about that time. By 1840 a treaty is signed with Britain making the Maori part of the empire (in exchange for some ‘peace keeping’ and a free hand with non-subjects, near as I can tell so far) but before that, this attack starts, yet it continues after.

    This debate was very interesting but unfortunately you have turned it racist. People who live in glass houses should not throw stones.

    I agree there has been some terrible atrocities inflicted on mankind but this was not only by the white man, it happened in your own back yard. Hongi Hika went on the rampage south slaughtering an estimated 60,000 of his unarmed defenseless countrymen for no apparent reason except for the sport. The ground left white with the bone of the unfortunate. I dread to think what would have happened when the southern tribes had armed themselves and went north for utu, but luckily the northern chiefs realized what was going to happen and asked the British to intervene and more than likely, saved the Maori race. They were extremely intelligent men and women and should be shown more respect by all the people of New Zealand for their actions in signing the Tiriti o Waitangi, from their speeches they new exactly what they were doing, although some change there minds when peace between the tribe had been achieved.

    Nine hundred Maori from Wellington commandeered the Rodney and traveled to the Chatham Islands and virtually wiped out the peace loving Moriori race, again for no apparent reason. The Waikato went south and annihilated the Taranaki but the missionaries, the Government and the Treaty allowed them to return.
    We still have to find what happened to the white people that lived here before the Maori, as told in Maori legends and found in many sites of evidence around New Zealand, a part of our history disallowed by government.

    Yes Jean I agree, there have been atrocities by different people around the world, but not only by the white man, it also happened by your people in your own back yard.

    So it looks like it wasn’t particularly British sponsored, but was British tolerated. (At that time, even pre-treaty, Maori were often found serving on British ships per other sources).

    So you’ve got treaty negotiations underway, and some guys “borrow” a ship… Also at that time there were a few thousand “whites gone native” among the Maori as well. So these two groups (British and Maori) were not exactly fighting each other…

    I find the reference to “whites before the Maori” intriguing, but don’t have time to follow it up right now.

    One more:

    The British Government, through the House of Commons, ratified the Declaration of Independence and acknowledged the Confederation title to the soil and their Sovereignty as indisputable. The Confederation continued exercising their authority and planned to implement a two level structure, to unite the tribes through bloodlines at the Ariki level and secondly, to unite the tribal armies in common defense policy.

    Three War Canoes were constructed at Whakaki Lagoon, Wairoa and carved at Turanganui to patrol the coast.

    The British Government and the Marquis of Normandy instructed Captain William J. Hobson, to establish amongst Tauiwi a settled form of government. Her Majesty Queen Victoria in common with predecessor (King William) disclaimed for her and her subject, every pretension to seize on New Zealand or to Govern Maori as part of a Dominion of Great Britain.

    Looks like about the time of the attack and pre-treaty, the British were working with the Maori on a relationship. I doubt if a Maori in those conditions could just by force steal a large ship and have no consequences. Looking to me like a ‘loaner’ so the guys they were cultivating would bring in some more land, but with ‘plausible denyability’ and no British blood shed. Remember that these were the same folks who paid American Indians to turn over scalps of folks they wanted rid of… (Yes, scalping was done because the Europeans demanded evidence for payment…) So I’m not seeing a real rosy picture for the British involvement in New Zealand in any case.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    Higher up that thread we have the start of things:

    One New Zealand Foundation Inc | June 10th, 2011 at 10:33 am

    Whether they were individual territories or states, the fact is, the Treaty ceded them to Her Majesty the Queen in 1840.

    In 1831, 13 northern chiefs wrote to the King of England asking him to become their guardian and protector, not only from themselves but from the French. Britain sent a Resident, James Busby who tried to get the chiefs to form their own government in 1835 to bring law and order to all the people of New Zealand, but unfortunately, it failed. For Britain to intervene further, New Zealand had to become a British Colony and for New Zealand to become a British Colony to bring law and order to both Maori and the settlers, Britain had to obtain the chief’s consent to sovereignty over the whole land.

    While Wakefield was purchasing large areas of land from Maori, there were no laws to prove ownership, titles or disputes etc. Eventually this would have ended in disaster for all concerned, especially when the Taranaki that had been driven from their lands by the Waikato, saw it occupied by the settlers and returned.

    The Colonial government paid off the Waikato, the missionaries persuaded the Waikato to release their Taranaki slaves, who returned to their homeland. The disturbances started when the Taranaki that had fled south saw the slave had returned to their homeland and decided to return as well. The law came into force and eventualy peace was established.

    Britain had been asked to intervene in New Zealand in 1831, she had tried to get the chiefs to form a government in 1835, but when it failed reluctantly asked the chiefs in 1840 if they would give up their territories so she could form a legal government. Over 500 chiefs agreed.

    While there were disturbances over the next 30 years to bring law and order to all the people of New Zealand and some land was confiscated, most of these confiscations were sorted soon after, some with compensation or in the 1930′s with full and final settlements when the New Zealand government was still under the control of the British government.

    So looks like the “usual” protection racket with some making it all nice and legal mixed in and some “liberty” for the “agreeable” locals to mess up the ones less “agreeable” … So in the middle of this, some of them hop a boat and pick up another Island… I think “The British” knew what they were up to. I don’t see any history of “British Sailors killed defending Ship Rodney from Maori, prior to theft and … eventual return.” and not a peep of mention of punishment for using the vessel to add more lands to the kettle becoming Her Majesties New Zealand…

    Maybe there’s an article out there somewhere, but it’s late and I’m sleepy ;-)

  11. Petrossa says:

    I learned as a kid to turn into Usain Bolt in an instant. As a result i still have all my teeth. I strongly believe to stand up for yourself, but only for a worthwhile reason. Just some stupid brawl is not a good reason.
    The next option is to evade situations where negative situations might arise. Nobody ever told me “hey that’s my chair” since i just didn’t go to places where people could tell me that.
    I don’t believe in pacifism, but i also am not in favor of the other extreme. I believe that combat is an archaic remnant of our primate brain, and that in fact combat games (football, and such) do nothing good since they keep that part of our brains prominent.

    I also think that competition in general is vastly overrated, since it still rests on the same archaic foundation. One should do things because it fulfills the human mind, not the ape brain which lies under it.

    I strongly feel that a society based on competition is self destructive. I feel there is ample evidence is past and present history to make a strong case this is so.

    As such i make a case to change the way education is put together. Not on playing one against the other by grades, but by stimulating the desire for knowledge and self fulfillment.

    Perhaps, given the time, that way in a few centuries we can still turn our headrush towards extinction around.

  12. adolfogiurfa says:

    There is a wide gap between defending oneself and going around killing and eating other people. From pacifism to barbarianism. Barbarians spent all they got in their past in making barbaric wars and their goal, after losing it all, is to have all the rest disarmed so as to get from them what they did not preserve for themselves.

  13. DirkH says:

    Petrossa says:
    2 January 2013 at 10:53 am
    “I strongly feel that a society based on competition is self destructive. ”

    So you’d rather have only one chain of gas stations to choose from.

  14. Jeff Alberts says:

    Peace through superior firepower…

  15. Petrossa says:

    Actually yes DirkH, provided the price is fairly calculated. Cost/Standard Margin, so i don’t have to worry about if i get stiffed or not. Or drive around town for 10cents less a liter and burning 10 liters in the process being more expensive in the end.

  16. BobN says:

    This was a very telling tale. To me the starvation in communist Georgia was one of the worst.
    Never give up your guns and if they confiscate, become a terrorist, for the government no longer represents you.
    With all the gun confiscation talk, we will see if people match their rhetoric and if the government will be that heavy handed to invite insurrection.

  17. DirkH says:

    Petrossa says:
    2 January 2013 at 5:18 pm
    “Actually yes DirkH, provided the price is fairly calculated.”

    So you prefer a monopoly that doesn’t rip you off. Well, one can dream.

  18. DirkH says:

    DirkH says:
    2 January 2013 at 6:12 pm
    “So you prefer a monopoly that doesn’t rip you off. Well, one can dream.”

    actually that has a lot to do with ChiefIO’s observation that businesses can be too big to have optimum efficiency. (Internal monopolies for intermediate products)

  19. Keith AB says:

    Good article boss.

    I don’t understand why you, or anybody else, raises racism above any other form of discrimination unless you think that the Holocaust was a function of racism when it manifestly was a function of envy and resentment much like the hatred of the rich and successful is today.

    Discrimination amongst humans is a natural part of our existence. We are all prejudiced against , fat, thin, short, ugly, thick, rich, blond, weak, handsome, ugly . . there is no end to our discriminatory ways but racism is considered the worst because it is assumed that Hitler used racism to kill 6m Jews.

    The assumption seems to be that we are all potential Hitlers, but only against those who are a different skin colour. We can still have antipathy towards the French ( Cheese eating surrender monkeys), the Americans ( whatever that actually means ), the Brits with their bad teeth and Imperial history. It just goes on doesn’t it?

    But the real principle is kick the other bugger if he even looks like kicking you. Never show weakness or you will be eaten in the Darwinian race for survival. Let’s all stop trying to artificially support those who are failing with our stupid aid and constructive advice. It really is time to look after ourselves, our family, our tribe, our nation, our race and our species. All in that order. Wherever the attack comes from our primary concern simply has to be our survival. Everything else is at best secondary to that.

    Always be ready for the attack. Always be ready to fight your corner but always do what you can to stop it coming to that if possible.

  20. Zeke says:

    I enjoyed the research and the presence of a good “Pacifist FAIL” file on the internet.

    I try to respect differences at an interpersonal level. I know that peace comes through strength. Those who believe that peace breaks out when no one is armed are welcome to their own opinion, and some of them, such as Quakers, have a long tradition in our country as pacifists. They do not own weapons and do not serve in the Military, but some do serve in the Coast Guard. It is a matter of freedom of conscience for these differences to arise.

    However, when this difference arises at an organizational level, I would like to remind those who are pacifists that our Constitution does enshrine the role of our gov’t to provide for the common defense, and to secure the blessings of liberty. It one of the few legitimate roles for Federal gov’t.

    Not only that, as any American who is knowledgeable about his own family history is aware, we have as a nation and value very dearly as a culture a volunteer army, and we are all sons and daughters of those voluntary infantries. My families have served in every conflict in the history of the US, and of the colonies. (We were all Union, though.)

    Our founding documents and our own family histories, as well as our culture of liberty, are deeply invested in the defense of the right, and the right of self-protection. So Pacifists who get involved on an organizational level should realize that they are involved in the assault on our Constitution, laws, culture, history, and language.

    They should go disarm North Korea and China first, to show their glorious plans are workable.

  21. Zeke says:

    Regarding competition:

    The source of “competition” is in the human heart. It is a mistake to attribute the competitive instinct and activities of individuals and groups to any outward system. Changing the outward system of laws only re-channels the manner in which the “competition” (which is based in self-love and egotism) expresses itself. But the cause is still present within the human heart regardless of which system is instituted outwardly. Therefore, we err on the side of individual liberty and local self-government.

    Another exceedingly “competitive” impulse is to place others under centralized, collectivized systems against their will. This competitive instinct to remove individual liberties and increase central planning is also based in egoism and excessive self-love, which is demonstrable because it is done by force and trickery of others, and false promises of the efficacy of such a system. It is the worst form of “competition” in existence.

  22. E.M.Smith says:


    Um, I don’t think I called anything “racism” here. Frankly, the story isn’t about race (as both groups were from the same ethnic roots). There’s a transitory reference to the Jews, but not connected to race (as many were Germans). Even the Nazi killing of the Gypsy clans could not be properly classed as ‘racism’ since both are Caucasian…

    But addressing the question I never raised of “why folks treat racism more strongly” is, IMHO, mostly a matter of scale. Killing the A-hole down the street who terrorizes kids is first off, a whole different scale from killing 6 million people. Secondly, attempting to eradicate an entire class of folks typically also involves a larger scale. There is also, IMHO, a self-important self-aggrandizing aspect to the moralizing about things. From both points of view. “I’m morally superior since I value things MY way and you don’t”. It both makes the oppressor feel justified and, oddly, lets the person condemning the oppressor feel justified…

    Other than scale, and the “self centered self inflated moralizing” aspect of it, I don’t see one kind of violence as all that different from another. Frankly, I find the whole “Hate Crime” thing to fall into that same bucket of fallacy. I’ve never heard of a “Love Murder”, so a “Hate Murder” can’t be any different from any plain old “Not All That Emotional Murder”. What emotion is involved on the part of the killer just seems like a stupid axis to use for applying penalties.

    Unfortunately, not having a good handle on the mind set of folks who commit mass murders and pursue racism for sport, I can’t say if my ‘guess’ above is very good, or not.

    Per Germany and the Holocaust in particular, though, we can say that it quite clearly was a racist act in the minds of the Nazis. They had policies of “racial purity” and thought of the Jews as a distinct “race” (even though they are more Caucasian / European in type than anything else; so at most a racial sub-type and more accurately a ‘tribe’. Oddly, there are aspects of the Germanic language family that show a semitic language underlayment, so it is likely that Germans are distant cousins to Jews.) But in the mind of the Nazi they clearly had “racist intent”. It’s not assumed, it is what they said and published.

    Per the “everybody discriminates”, I’m sorry, but I have to disagree there, too. Many, perhaps even most, folks do. I don’t, and I know many others who don’t. It’s just not in my DNA. I grew up in a racist discriminatory time and place, and I tried to ‘get with the program’, but I just like people too much. I glory in novelty and change. I love differences. So every time I’d see a new kind of person, I’d just marvel at them and want to know “what’s it like for you?”. I had a crush on a Chinese girl through several years, despite strong racism against Asians in the environment. I spent most of my ‘play time’ with a Mexican kid neighbor, despite them being ‘looked down on’ by the landed class ( a big deal in a farm town). I had a skinny friend, and I was the fat kid. The list goes on and on. It got me in trouble some times, as I’d not understand things like “you can’t go to that part of that town at night”. Or “you ought not be playing with that black kid”. (Oddly, my Dad was fine with me playing with the black kids of someone he knew, even though he tried to explain to me why blacks were treated differently. This was 1950s… I have a love of that particular black hair weave / braids to this day and fond memories of a very black face grinning at me as we were chasing around the back yard as kids do.) One of the saddest days of my young life was when a very nice kid who I liked a lot was “sequestered” away from the rest of us and I was told I could not play with him any more. He was very mentally retarded, but “a very nice person”. In those days such folks were removed from school and shut away. I liked helping him and didn’t mind that he was ‘slow’.

    In short, whatever inherent “not liking” is, I don’t have it. The only people I don’t like are those where it’s a learned response. Everyone gets a fundamental acceptance up front, and they have to prove themselves unpleasant or mean as an individual before I reject them. (Though I have learned to make some group generalizations, such as that the Black Panthers will not care that I’m a unique person and will hate me because I’m white, and maybe being on the wrong side of town at the wrong time of night isn’t such a bright idea, whatever I might feel.)

    Frankly, about the only thing that really puts me off is “mean people”. If someone is just generally having a bad day, I’ll try to comfort them. Doesn’t matter who they are. But if someone is just a mean SOB and wants to hurt others, sorry, I’ve learned where that leads. Mean people suck. Drop kick them out of your life. ( I didn’t always know this. I had to learn it. The hard way.)

    Also, I’d quibble on the “kick principle”. My philosophy of “be the mirror” would not allow that “kick first”. It only allows for “If they LOOK like they are willing to kick you, posture as though you are prepared to kick too.” It works. Match step for step, style for style. (Sometimes I lag by 1/2 a step or so just to make sure we are not both playing a ‘symmetrical game’ and in an artificial ramp up…) I will not do a “first strike”, but I’ll be ready to parry it, and the counterstrike will not wait…

    But yes, I agree that folks need to look after their own first.

    Oh, and FWIW, there is an “altruism gene” that seems to control how ‘tribal’ someone is. (Clearly I don’t have it). The reason why it is of survival advantage has been worked out. If a ‘first cousin’ dies saving the bunch of relatives, more of his genes survive (in them). So some degree of altruism “for the clan” is actually a selected trait.

    @DirkH & Petrossa:

    The problem is that we can not remove those “me first” drives from most people (or even harder, from the particularly self serving self centered SOB that rises to the top of social structures like companies). So you can’t get a nice “cost plus” monopoly without some external agency policing it.

    Would we really have COSTCO undercutting gasoline prices at “the majors” without competitive pressures? Nope.

    Also the history of monopolies is “not good”. Micro$oft was found guilty of monopoly practices (so much so that the major competitor has to be free to survive… Linux is a cooperative response to abuse of power.) There’s a whole lot more monopoly economic history, but it’s all largely the same. AT&T as a regulated monopoly was still charging something like $20 / month for “phone instrument rental” and you had a choice of one style, until something like the ’60s and even in the ’70s you had a few colors and IIRC 3 styles (princess, slimline, office / button). Only after breaking them up did we get the explosion of kinds of phones, that you could buy for $10 and be done.

    So while “It’s a nice idea” to have a “cost plus monopoly”, it just doesn’t work without the teeth of competition or anti-trust enforcement. First due to human nature and greed. Second due to the inevitable growth into the dis-economies of scale size. Wish it wasn’t so, but “What I want is of no importance. -E.M.Smith”

    BTW, even “cost plus” isn’t a good enough standard. Monopolies tend to become fat and lazy and their costs go way high. They just don’t have the incentive to ‘stay lean’. Look at how government works for an ‘end case’ example. Look at AT&T pre-breakup as another. Look at the UN. Look at just about any very large organization without a competitive threat. Bloat, sloth, feather bedding, …


    I don’t think I have enough time left in my life to describe all the horribles done by various empires, including the Russian ones, and Georgia is a strong example. Ukraine didn’t get off all that easy either.

    The current push for “gun restrictions” ( I can’t call it gun “control” as that is a steady hand and good aim…) will be separating some folks from their principles. We’ll see who thinks “right to keep and bear arms” means “only if we allow you”…


    Yup. There was ‘advantage’ out of being an aggressive A-hole in the past. There is still some advantage to it today ( especially in large organizations where a sociopathic style has been shown to rise to the top). It’s hard to be normal in a world like that, but it is worth the effort.

    Heck, just look at the story behind Facebook for how being a predatory personality still gains benefits. Don’t know if it can be ‘fixed’…


    Since my fundamental nature is cooperative / giving, I’m attracted to the notion of a cooperative and convivial world. But that just isn’t going to happen. Too many of the “other kind” around for that. Worse, “that kind” is important to have. The ‘end game’ of my kind and a ‘no conflict’ social norm is that tribe that was on the lunch platter… It regularly happens in history. And once that idea (pacifism) becomes the socially dominant one, you end up with a generation that didn’t learn ‘through hard knocks’ how to keep their teeth. Then they die.

    It’s also clear that the folks who “break a few eggs” also end up making more omelets. Is that a net benefit or cost to society? I’m not so sure, but the economics work out to benefit. Edison was not a nice man, nor was Westinghouse. From what I’ve heard, Tesla was. GE (Edison) and Westinghouse changed the world and made fortunes (using ideas from Tesla…). What made one a success and the other an eccentric? That story is not unique, it is the norm. Maximum success comes with some spunk and some teeth. ( It is also, IMHO, why I’m not rich and successful. I can play the ‘corporate games’ just well enough, but not enough to fight to the top. So often folks ‘in the middle’ would rather I be gone. Only when I’ve had a boss who accepted that I was not a threat, despite being smarter most of the time, have I flourished. The others either have thought me too ‘weak’ since I didn’t have the attack dog underlay or thought me a ‘threat’ and could not believe I would not try to take their job.)

    Again: I don’t have to LIKE that to recognize it. At the managerial / executive level, it is the well groomed attack dog hunter who thrives (though sometimes ‘in packs’..). “Coopetition” is about the most you can hope for in terms of ‘play well together’ (other than some very rare circumstances).

    That means we need to assure “our kind” are a ‘well armed bunny’, both in terms of physical skills and in mental skills to deal with the rest of humanity; mean though they may be. So I have gone out of my way to train my “lizard brain” or “ape brain” to be MORE competitive and MORE amenable to violence “on demand”, for the simple reason that when it is too atrophied, you end up the entrée… It is fully under conscious control and direction (otherwise it just goes to sleep …) and left alone tends to atrophy. As much as I found “organized sports” dreadful and oppressive, I think it serves an important purpose for “folks like me”. It lets us learn how to “pass” as one like them, and how they think and behave. It prepares for “the real world”.

    @Another Ian:

    Ah, yes ;-)

  23. Gary says:

    I’ve always gone with “be wise as serpents and innocent as doves” as a guiding principle. IOW, know your opponent and figure out how to deflect his aggression without becoming morally debased like him.

  24. crosspatch says:

    Generally non violence ends up getting more people killed. Look at the difference between how the occupation of Germany was handled vs. how the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq were handled. In Afghanistan, someone shoots at our troops, maybe kills a few. We catch the person in some kind of sweep but they are unarmed when we catch them. We put them in an Afghanistan jail where they are promptly broken out by their pals in the guard staff and go back to killing again. Had it been WWII, when we caught the person, we take them around back of the HQ shot them, usually within 48 hours of capturing them. In order to be “civilized” we have become less so. We end up creating situations where more people are killed. Now if we took a more “brutal” approach and took them out back and shot them, not only will they not escape to shoot more on another day, you only have to do that a few times to get the message across and things settle down. Germany had a problem during the occupation with “lone wolf” gunmen who used to like to pick off our soldiers. We shot them when we caught them. This crap of letting these people go to jail just ends up killing more people over the long run. It is actually MORE violent in that it creates a situation where you have a lower sustained level of violence but for a much longer period of time. If you catch someone shooting at our troops and they are not in uniform, then they have violated the Geneva conventions, they are war criminals, and they can be shot summarily. There is a REASON why the laws of war were written that way. It was done that way in order to make the behavior of combatants blending in with civilians and endangering non-combatants very expensive. If you do so and if you are caught, you are shot. Period. End of story.

    In our desire to APPEAR civilized, we simply allow ourselves to be taken advantage of by people who are not. It really IS them or us. If they act that way, we must kill them. We have an obligation to as long as they have the goal of killing us. Putting them in jail is just a gravy train for jailers.

  25. John Robertson says:

    Bullies are the same wether they wear a uniform or a tuxedo.
    If their calculation is that they can gain, I use the term loosely, from intimidation that what they do.
    Being polite and civilized to these cretins, requires that you be ready to strike at any time.
    In their face aggression encourages them to escape your presence.
    Some claim low self esteem is the cause of bad behaviour, but I stopped caring about cause in my teens. Phsyco-killers have very high self esteem, bullies ??
    And the calculation of bully boys is different to mine, I practise enlightened self interest to the best of my ability.By my standards short term gain that creates long term pain, is not sensible.
    Immediate gratification is the impulse of 3 year olds and fools. Bullies are fools and dangerous if they believe you weak.But remember its their perception, which is always a problem, as I do not read minds. I put the bums rush on those I identify, let them voluntarily associate elsewhere.
    I have become an increasingly intolerant person as I age, and now believe a death threat should be taken on face value, and the right to kill the aggressive slob making the threat right there and then. Life is too short to care if a waste of skin is fooling or to be stalked by a nut who images some slight.
    As the nature of modern government and the UN unfold I am increasingly drawn to a right of self defence via homicide for dealing with crooked govt employees.
    It would certainly focus personal responsibility.

  26. Mark Miller says:

    I was brought up as a pacifist, but I learned, not through experience, but by being a witness to that of others’, and listening to those who knew about reality better than I did. I grew up in good schools. They all had their bullies. Some picked on me with words. Some jabbed me, but didn’t punch or shove. As I got older, you could avoid trouble if you didn’t cross the “bad boys.” I did once, got a shove from him later in class. All I did was walk in front of the teacher’s desk as he followed me. He backed off. I only ever got in one fight, in school, and it was a minor wrestling match over something that was stolen from me. The thief grabbed me first. I didn’t like being in that position, but I feel as though, looking back on it, I was not worse off for not having fighting skills, though I was lucky to be in such a tame crowd. I know in hindsight it could’ve been worse.

    What gets me about the Newtown gun debate is hearing journalists, who have no idea what they’re talking about, acting like they do, saying, “This gun was designed to kill,” and the inference we’re supposed to take from that is, “And it did.” As if the person using it was almost irrelevant. All he had to do was shoot the gun in someone’s general direction, and it would “kill them, because that’s what it was designed to do.” That’s not how it works! The gun shoots the bullet (hopefully) where it’s aimed when you pull the trigger. That’s it. If you’re not trained in how to use it, you’re likely to miss a lot, or not be able to shoot a single round.

    Several people brought up two articles: One talking about some deranged man in China who used a knife to stab over 20 students. All of them survived their injuries. Then they show the story on Newtown. They say, “See? The weapon *does* make the difference! An attack with a knife is much more survivable than one with an assault rifle.” Makes me shake my head at the ignorance… I can guess the reason the guy in China didn’t kill those kids: He wasn’t trained (thankfully) in how to use a knife to kill. Can anyone say Carotid Artery?

  27. adolfogiurfa says:

    @Zeke: You have been taught for generations to believe that there is such an instinct of competitiveness. It is a thing of the past. If there is any or, rather, if it there would be any, is the human effort for achieving higher energetic efficiencies. It is a vertical morality, an ethics of ascending from the mineral level to the plants level and then to the animal and human levels and much more, a moral quite different to the morality we have known up to now, a two dimensional morality of good and evil.
    It is quite different to hunt and kill for food and survival than killing for pleasure or power.

  28. Steve C says:

    I’m another pacific person who learned the hard way early on. For about the first four years of my secondary schooling, the school bully picked on me and my mates every morning break, every lunchtime, every afternoon break, no doubt because we were “spotty, swotty” types who wouldn’t fight back. Basically, he was right on that.

    Until one day, when I decided I’d had enough of this. With no conscious thought, I picked him up by the lapels with my left hand, bawled him out at point-blank range, then delivered what I later learned was a perfect uppercut with my right, straight to the jaw. He went down like a sack of potatoes, and stayed down for thirty seconds or so – scared hell out of me, I thought I’d killed him. But no, he eventually got up, and the teacher who’d witnessed the whole incident from about ten yards away (in sheer disbelief!) chose not to act. The bully never came near us again, and was expelled about six months later after trying (and failing) to regain his “authority”. I returned to my peaceable normality, though afterwards it became general knowledge that it’s probably better not to wind me up.

    Aliquando et insanire iucundum est. (Sometimes, it is pleasing even to act like a madman.)

  29. Borepatch says:

    E.M., it sounds like when Professor Parncutt sentences you to death as a climate change denier, you’ll be ready to return fire.

    Samizdata said it well:

    The problem I have with this whole discussion is that it grants what is a monstrous totalitarian perspective a polite hearing rather than the sort of response it truly deserves. It strikes me to just dignify the proposition “the state should spay women and castrate men” with “wouldn’t it be better if we just find a way to reduce the fuel we burn?” is to in effect tolerate the intolerable. A far better response, and dare I say a more ethical one, would be “your policy will indeed reduce the world’s population because people like me will put a 10mm hole between the eyes of totalitarian scum like you.”

    May you have a Happy and peacefully prepared New Year. ;-)

  30. Gail Combs says:

    Thanks for writing this ChiefIO.

    Anyone who has thinks pacifism works has never encountered a bully or a sociopath as a weaker person. They are not necessarily underprivileged, unintelligent or lacking in charm.. If they have morals and altruism mixed in they can become good leaders otherwise you can end up with Stalins.

    “The Collective Farm Policy was a terrible struggle, Ten million died. It was fearful. Four years it lasted. It was absolutely necessary.” Joseph Stalin

    My brother is a brilliant sociopath, charming, sneaky, mean and deadly. (I can not prove it but I am pretty sure he offed at least 8 ailing old relatives for their wealth after conning them into changing their wills before they died less than a week later.) He rose to the top of a Corporation and made millions. He was not mean for the fun of it (too lazy) but if you were between him and what he wanted you had better get the heck out of the way or fight like a berserker. I learned to put my mind into that type of “berserker zone” so he left me alone even though he was a foot taller and a hundred pounds heavier. (I was faster, in better shape and he thought I was ‘CRAZY’)

    My first husband was another brilliant sociopath. The first time he raised his hand to strike me, I looked him in the eye and reminded him he had to sleep sometime then I packed my bags and got the heck out of Dodge.

    The interesting thing about both of these men is I ‘belonged’ to them. Anyone who threatened me was in deep trouble. This is I think is the key to what you are talking about. Aggression toward outsiders and bullying to keep beta males in line with a bit of pacifism in the females toward the males but not toward other females has the evolutionary advantage.

    Heck you do not see pacifism in herbivores, not even in ewe sheep. It is just not an evolutionary advantage.

    The only difference that I see between current politics and tribal politics is more cunning. Obama is not out there leading the troops into battle and neither is his second in command or advisors. However even the Kings of old figured out that disarming the peasants was a very good idea if you wanted to keep your throne. Having a religion that states things like:

    “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s”

    “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.”

    “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

    Is quite useful too but a religion is limited in reaching only the segment of the population that was raised in that belief. So we have a new religion being spread containing environmentalism, CAGW and pacifism. It is no coincidence that Maurice Strong, chair of the 1972 Earth Summit, a Corporatist cloaked as a Socialist, has a center, the Aspen Institue, bringing together all religions. The idea of NGOs is also attributed to Maurice Strong who may have gotten the idea from his very early work with the international YMCA in 1952. Strong certainly swept up Greenpeace and the like and paid their way to the 1972 First Earth Summit and thereby legitimized both NGOs and Environmental concerns in the eyes of national governments.

    It has been pretty clear that disarming the peasants has been the goal of world leaders for decades. Hitler’s problems with the Swiss and the Soviet Union’s problems with Afghanistan just underline why disarming the peasants BEFORE conquering is always a very good idea. Christian missionaries (among others) were the old method. Socialism/environmentalism/pacifism is the new method. A world wide return to feudalism is the goal but it is called Sustainable Development (Agenda 21), the Wildlands Project, Smart Growth and other touchy feelly names with candy coated concepts. The end result is STILL feudalism with the peasants confined to an area and little freedom.The only change is the big international corporations and bankers become the new ‘aristocracy’

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